Hear ye, hear ye! British Town Crier Championships held in Hebden

National Town Crier Competition at old packhorse bridge, Hebden Bridge.
National Town Crier Competition at old packhorse bridge, Hebden Bridge.

Town Criers from across the country braved the awful weather to compete in the Diamond Jubilee British Town Crier Championships.

Organisers had planned to host the event on Packhorse Bridge in the town centre - but the idea was soon washed away as the heavens opened and the rain poured down.

After starting the competition outdoors, the 14 criers and judges moved into the Town Hall to finish the competition.

A total of six judges assessed two cries from each competitor - with scores given for diction and inflection, volume and clarity, accuracy, confidence and bearing, engagement with the audience and content of cry.

In the first round, participants were asked to perform their “home cry”, while in the second round, called “60 years I’ve laughed and cried”, they were allowed to perform a cry of their own choosing.

As well as naming an overall winner, prizes were also given out for the best dressed crier, the best dressed escort, the best dressed couple, the best ambassador and the best content of cry.

It was the first time the event had been staged in Calderdale since the Championships came to Halifax in 2003.

Les Cutts, Halifax Town Crier, Bellman of Calderdale and Crier to the Town Council of Hebden Royd, was the host crier and therefore not allowed to compete.

But he did set the march mark cry, which the judges used as a bases to score the competitors efforts.

Les said: “It was a fantastic day, despite the weather.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported and sponsored the event. The Hebden Bridge Business Association did a great job to get the Championships here, especially with all the problems the town has had with flooding in recent weeks.”

The overall winner was Michael Wood, Crier for the East Riding of Yorkshire, with Brenda Willison of Bakewell in second and John Stevens of Alnwick in third.

Others winners were:

Best dressed - Michael Wood

Best dressed escort - Margaret Craner (Crewkerne)

Best dressed couple - David and Jo Jackson (Malton and Norton)

Best Ambassador - Brenda Willison

Best content of cry - John Stevens.